• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

7 Logos to Avoid

Your logo is the visual personality of your business and forms the first impression of your business. A professional logo is one of the fastest way to build credibility. If you sell quality products, your logo should reflect this. Likewise, a poor quality logo suggests inferior products. If you can successfully avoid these common logo blunders and you are well on your way to a great logo:

1) The Clipart Logo – Most clipart images are widely distributed. Anyone who is familiar with the software providing the clipart will very likely recognize your ‘borrowed’ logo. This is a poor way to build credibility for your business.

2) The Special Effects Logo – Strip away all of the special effects to get at the heart of your design. Special filters such as glows, drop shadows, and bevels are great for creating graphics and manipulating photos, but they can be very distracting when applied to a logo. A great logo should be able to stand its ground in black and white, without any effects.
You may like to consider drafting your concepts on paper first. You should think more about what is being presented before you decide how it is presented. When you are pleased with a one-color concept then go to the computer and recreate it digitally. At this point you may or may not like to add a subtle effect to enhance your logo for web use. Eliminate any effect that does not add value to your design.

3) The Banner Logo – A logo is not a web banner advertisement. You are doing yourself more harm than good by forcing your logo into a banner shape, especially if the content is crammed to fit the entire rectangle. Our eyes are trained to avoid these shapes, not read them.

4) The Integrated Logo – Professional logo designers occasionally integrate graphic elements directly into the text to create one unified logo. This process is difficult and risky. Executed poorly, your logo can easily look ‘tacky’ and illegible. (i.e. using the letter ‘O’ in the company name to create a globe, eye, magnifying glass, etc.) If you are new to graphic design, stick to a top centered or left graphic layout.

5) The Text-Only Logo – A text-only logo severely restricts the ability to express your company’s uniqueness and memorability. Larger, more established businesses can pull off text-only logos with exorbitant marketing budgets. One test of logo's effectiveness (marketing budget's aside) is to alter the letters and see if your logo is still recognizable. If not then you need to seriously consider a visual element. If you just can’t resist a text-only logo, consider a strong, unique typeface – preferably custom made.

6) The Monogram – Monograms (company initials) are very difficult to use effectively. It will take a long time to build credibility with a monogram logo. Similarly, logos consisting of several overlapping letters generally do not work well. They may be fun to construct, but the end result says very little about your company and your products/services.

7) The Complex Logo – Detailed illustrations, photos, and complex layouts make poor logos. Each additional detail is an extra detail that your (potential) customer has to remember. A simple, unique logo with solid shades and minimal lines will have greater impact and memorability.


Interesting read but I don't agree with what they say about the London 2012 logo. They say: "Luckily, the Olympics don’t need too much help getting publicity, but if this logo were for a company, they’d be in trouble." however, I don't think anyone, especially the logo designer, thought otherwise. It's pretty obvious that the Olympics, regardless of host country, is unlikely to need a logo which delivers publicity in the traditional sense.

I think what they did instead was to firstly out publicise any form of standard logo and secondly adapt to the situation. A globally accepted logo can gain good publicity, sure, but I've lost count of the number of blog posts, forum debates and articles that discuss the matter of the London Olympics Logo. Would that level of exposure been achieved if they played it safe? I can't predict the future but I don't think it would have been.

I'd like to think that being in the unique position of designing a logo for a world renown organisation presents itself with a number of different opportunities than that provided by a normal company in a normal logo design situation, so I think it's unfair to say that they did a horrible job of creating that logo, I think regardless of the logo design, the end result was definitely beneficial to the organisation.

Even I'm thinking about and discussing the Olympics - and I really don't care about it that much!


Active Member
I've never in 35 years done a Logo.

I've created many Brand Identities though.

Logo's are a system of this superficial wannbe designer culture that do not understand the fundamentals of brand and brand development.

Brand identity is about understanding the company, it's products, it's business proposition, it's marketplace and the perception and belief of the brand or company through design implementation.

Logo is a one dimensional piece of unconnected graphic representation. Anyone can cobble a logo together.
Logos require graphic technique.
Brand Identity require thought and idea.
I agree with you Berry. In one sense, when designing the logo it is vital to really understand the company/business you will be creating it for before you even start to plan out the logo concept. Best case scenario (if the money provides it) having a meeting/interview with someone in the company (preferably person in charge) and asking questions such as the methods, mentality, attitudes and objectives the company/business has. This all then helped when generating ideas for the actual logo.

Re: Olympic logo- It has certainly stuck in my mind (comparison to any other even logo (i think) I have ever seen) which is a great outcome of the logo, in one sense. Maybe its recognised so well because of how much (some of us) hate it?


Active Member
GilmoreVisuals said:
Re: Olympic logo- It has certainly stuck in my mind (comparison to any other even logo (i think) I have ever seen) which is a great outcome of the logo, in one sense. Maybe its recognised so well because of how much (some of us) hate it?
I remember "Shad upa ya face' by Joe Dolce and 'Barbie Girl' by Aqua- that doesn't make them great song!
Berry said:
I remember "Shad upa ya face' by Joe Dolce and 'Barbie Girl' by Aqua- that doesn't make them great song!
Yeah that's what i'm saying, hence the fact that I said I hated it. It doesn't mean its a good logo, but it certainly sticks in peoples mind, and that might have been a reason to why Wolff Olins (designer of the logo) made it like that? :p
It sticks in the mind of industry professionals... not so much the general public I wouldn't have thought. Thankfully the Olympics doesn't really have the same competition like a business would.
Thanks for the post dekkerfraser! I know I see a lot of people try o do really detailed pictures for a logo and it’s just too much. Things look way too cluttered and if the image has to be shrunk or put in black and white it turns out horrible.
I agree with Berry wholeheartedly - during 21 years of trading, 'logo' has become something of a dirty word at our agency. The misconception is rife that you sketch out something on a napkin or get someone to hash something together for you and you're done - the design side of you business is done.

Branding requires a holistic approach, with the 'logo' or brand identity forming just one element of many.

It's a complex process best left to the professionals!


I think in today's world, where anyone can fool themselves into thinking they can be a novice in almost any industry, it's no wonder that the whole 'logo' culture has arisen. Small businesses dominate the private sector and unfortunately there are a lot of businesses out there who don't really know what they're doing.

So, when the time comes to finally update their brand (or in many cases create from scratch) many of these business owners think they know what they're talking about, have a nephew/colleague/friend/distant relative that thinks they know what they're talking about and so they believe all they need is a logo, or at best an incoherent and Frankenstein-like attempt at creating their own brand identity, instead of hiring a professional to create a proper brand identity (of which a logo plays but one part) which is actually going to work for their company. Then they blame their nephew/colleague/friend/dead relative (touting themselves as a freelance designer of course) when things don't go to plan.

Oh well.